Posts Tagged ‘progress

What’s left?

In: Uncategorized

25 Mar 2010

Nowadays the elite typically sees itself as liberal and cosmopolitan. But despite the radical rhetoric it is easily the most conservative section of society. Take a couple of examples. The Left Foot Forward blog identifies itself as “a political blog for progressives” (its American sister site is Its editor is Will Straw, the son […]

I cannot better a blog post by Karl Sharro, a Lebanese architect, celebrating the completion of the Burj Dubai as the world’s tallest building. He takes some well-aimed shots at misanthropic and environmentalist critics who are whinging about this tremendous achievement (also see my 11 October 2008 blog post). Those who want to get a […]

Don’t worry if you’ve missed the apocalypse because another one will be along in a minute. After The Day of the Triffids aired on BBC over Christmas three post-apocalyptic thrillers – The Book of Eli, Daybreakers and The Road – will be out in the cinema in January. Several commentators have remarked on the popularity […]

The cover story of this week’s Economist is on the discrediting of the idea of progress. It is an astute piece overall but better on the benefits of progress than explaining its contemporary unpopularity. On the gains resulting from economic growth and the development of science it argues that: “For aeons people lived to the […]

Andy Warhol’s paintings of Campbell soup cans are among the most widely recognised images of American pop art. But I had not thought about their symbolic value until a read a review in yesterday’s Financial Times by Jackie Wullschlager of several books on him. She makes the point that: “His Campbell soup cans and Coke […]

The Wall Street Journal has run a piece by Melinda Beck giving lots of examples of how the health of Americans is generally improving. I do not agree with all of her points – for example I oppose bans on public smoking – but the piece is worth reading.

The front page of yesterday’s Daily Mail proclaimed that a “health timebomb hits baby boomers”. On closer inspection it was based on an article in the American Journal of Public Health comparing disability of elderly American today with data from 10 years ago. The Mail also added embellishments of its own based on quotes from […]

The commission of eminent international economists appointed by French President Nicholas Sarkozy to report on measuring economic and social progress (PDF) has published its findings. I have not yet had time to read its 292 pages but, judging from the media coverage, it is broadly in line with what would be expected. Its call for […]

I was planning to write a note on the 10: 10 campaign launched in Britain yesterday but Brendan O’Neill has saved me the trouble with a critique on the Guardian comment is free site. I particularly liked the concluding quote on prosperity from Sylvia Pankhurst, the revolutionary suffragette leader, so I checked it out. It […]

Ian Abley, the project manager for Audacity, has produced a useful schematic to help understand the regressive tendency for capitalism to go green. It divides thinkers on the issue into four broad categories depending on their views on population and productivity: misanthropists (in favour of low population and low productivity), anti-machine-survivalists (greens whose main focus […]